Sunday, June 23, 2013

But It's Your Ghetto That's The Problem

There are but a few of us who don't typically think that we are right. As the saying goes "I don't make mistakes. I thought I made a mistake once but I was mistaken."

If we pay attention to ourselves and others we will find that we are very often guilty of the same behavior that we despise in others. Sometimes our hypocrisy or our stupidity derails good intentions. We love freedom but we want everyone to behave, believe, worship, talk and look just like ourselves.

I remember one summer as a young teenager a group of us went to watch the activities in district court. We weren't on trial or anything, it was summertime, we had time on our hands and the entertainment there was free. The courtroom was above the old City Hall and Police Department where Fascinate You and Gilbert Theater are today. I think I know the judge's name but I'm not certain so I won't say it. As wrong as that judge turned out to be, he taught me a hell of a lot on that Monday morning.

There were two young men on trial for something that I do not recall. For all I know they may have been guilty as hell. I am absolutely certain the judge was guilty of prejudice and it is my opinion that he was a piece of shit (see, I told you I was ghetto). 
The judge would not hear the case until the men had a haircut because their hair was hanging well past their shoulders. To make matters worse he specifically instructed the bailiff to carry the men to Maxwell Street Barber Shop.

After lunch the bailiff got chewed out because he carried the men to Market Square Barber Shop instead. Even as a young teenager I could tell that the judge obviously sent them to his barber and he went by on his lunch hour so they could laugh about him making those two long haired hippies get their hair cut.

I remember thinking "what gives that son of a bitch the right to humiliate people? And what gives him the right to decide how someone looks? Where is Blind Justice?" I thought "what if they are found innocent of the charges, do they get their hair back?"

Yes, that slimy bastard that called himself a judge changed me forever. I learned that I may be judged unfairly, simply because of the way I look so I'd best look neat, clean and stylish at all time. I also learned that no matter how neat, clean and stylish my peers and I thought I looked there will be many that don't like my appearance. I already knew that I would be bald someday but I learned that no way in hell would I ever have a wrap-a-round hairdo disguise like that arrogant ass of a judge.

Throughout history each generation has brought fashion and behavior that previous generations hated. I remember when the Beatles came to the U.S. People were so freaked out they thought the world was coming to an end. They had really long hair. It was so long it must have come all the to the top of their ears. They wore charcoal grey suits with black ties. What was the world coming to?

Just before the Beatles was Elvis with his tight pants. There was the duck tail hairdo. The two piece ladies swimsuit came out somewhere about that time only to be followed by the bikini. 

In colonial days men wore wigs and waxed their faces. They had poor hygiene and wooden teeth. 

There was a period when men wore knickers with hose and solid wooden shoes. At one time only saloon girls, dancers and whores would shave their armpits, legs and pubies.

In the 1970's we wore stack heel shoes with leisure suits in colors that were absolutely hideous. I remember shirts with collars as wide as airplane wings.The counter culture of the time wore denim jeans, dessert boots and a clean tee shirt as their on the town apparel.

Nowadays they are wearing baggy pants. So baggy in fact they would fall to the floor if the guy wearing them doesn't hold them up with his hand or walk funny. I've got pictures of myself wearing some of the ugliest clothes I've ever seen so I've worn some outrageous clothing but this current fashion is absolutely the stupidest that I've seen. So what? If a man chooses to handicap himself by requiring the use of his hands to keep his pants on, who am I to stop him? If I want to be stupid, let me (unless you're my financial planner, in which case, you're too late). I guarantee that due to my profession, I see far more baggy pants than most people. The baggy pants aren't vulgar. They typically come in two pieces; an undergarment that fits and an outer one that doesn't. You will see more butt crack when your plumber comes than you do with this outrageous fashion.

I don't like baggy pants so I don't wear them. I wear ties. Most people don't. We don't all have to look the same.

What about our language? It, just like our fashion, has constantly evolved. The British are appalled that we speak English the way that we do. And they'd really freak out if they heard the way we use the language in the south. The language has changed as we've integrated dialects of various cultures and adopted various slang as acceptable or proper communication. "Cool" was a temperature until the hippies started using it to describe things they like. "Hot" was a temperature as well. Now, it means sexy. A crib was a baby's bed, now it is a house.

I've said all that in response to a Fayetteville Observer story regarding a former councilman's email which was sent to the mayor, city manager and various council members. The email suggested that before the city proceeds with more parks and recreation it should fix some of the problems it currently has. To show which problems he was speaking of he had lots of derogatory racial comments and photos that were out of line. 

When questioned by the Fayetteville Observer, the former councilman, community leader and military activist defended his intentions and his offensive comments. He obviously used a lot of profanity in his discussion with the Observer since there were numerous "(expletive)" insertions in his quotes. He talked about how they are wearing baggy pants and they don't even speak English. When did "(expletive)" become proper English? Wouldn't it be appropriate that before he tells others how to speak English he should speak it properly himself.

What does he expect city council to do about current fashion or language slang? Pass a law? How could a man who fought bravely and honorably for our freedoms suggest such a thing? Perhaps he'd like to have government issued clothing to every citizen. Everyone wear the same color and a same style. Everyone would look just like our former councilman. Besides, we already have laws that forbid apparel that exposes one's genitalia.

I like a Westpoint hem in my slacks, should that be required of everyone? To require appearance standards based on what one likes or doesn't like would be dictatorship.

I share some of the same concerns that the former councilman has. We have a tremendous amount of social ills in the United States. He has earned much respect for his military and community service. He should well know that while his derogatory and bigoted approach may make good barber shop talk, it is absolutely counterproductive. It in fact shows that he is indeed part of the social ill.

If the former councilman has any good intentions, he will rethink his comments and apologize sincerely. I don't think that he will because he has likely gotten lots of attaboys at the barbershop and breakfast club. Ego will exceed sincerity.

George Carlin, when telling things you can't do on television, said. "You can prick your finger but you can't finger your prick."  Well, I'd like to give that prick the finger.

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